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  1. #1
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    Hybrid Advice - Specialized Vita vs Ariel

    Hello!

    Wife is in the market for a hybrid-style bicycle. There are some insane deals on leftover 2013s.

    Today she test rode a Specialized Vita and Ariel. They were both in her correct size (women's small.)

    She will be riding 80% on paved paths and roads (some roads are rough) and 20% on hard-packed dirt.

    The Vita has 700x32 tires and rigid forks. It has rim-brakes.

    The Ariel was actually the disc version. It has 700x38 tires, mechanical disc brakes, and Suntour 60mm front suspension.

    She liked both bikes but the test rides were on pavement only.

    It seems to me the Vita is the way to go. I've read that hybrid bikes don't really benefit from front suspension. And are mechanical disc brakes any better than rim brakes?

    The tires give me pause, though. Does a 700x32 tire do okay on hard-packed dirt? Does it give a decent ride?

    Which bike do you think would be better for her needs? Thanks for any feedback.

  2. #2
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    The 32mm tires can work on dirt if it's not completely smooth. I ride on hardpack dirt with 28 road tires daily and that's not fun because the tire is completely smooth. It's not scary or anything but it does squirm around a bit. Just be careful about it. That said though, I've lost it with my hybrid that has 42mm tires when I took a turn too aggressively and the bike slid out and fell over. If it really bugs you, check the clearance on the fork and frame and see if you can fit something bigger.

    Disc brakes vs rim brakes...either one should be fine. Disc brakes work a better in the rain but that's about it. There are ups and downs for both.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsdavis View Post
    The 32mm tires can work on dirt if it's not completely smooth. I ride on hardpack dirt with 28 road tires daily and that's not fun because the tire is completely smooth. It's not scary or anything but it does squirm around a bit. Just be careful about it. That said though, I've lost it with my hybrid that has 42mm tires when I took a turn too aggressively and the bike slid out and fell over. If it really bugs you, check the clearance on the fork and frame and see if you can fit something bigger.

    Disc brakes vs rim brakes...either one should be fine. Disc brakes work a better in the rain but that's about it. There are ups and downs for both.
    Thanks so much for the feedback. This is the tire the Vita comes with. Would this be enough tread for a hard-packed dirt path?

    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/ftb...e-tires/nimbus

  4. #4
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    FWIW, my wife tried and disliked the Vita but loved the Trek 7.1 FX, which is what we bought.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mystang52 View Post
    FWIW, my wife tried and disliked the Vita but loved the Trek 7.1 FX, which is what we bought.
    Thanks for that. Could you expand a bit on what you disliked about the Vita but liked on the Trek? There is not a trek dealer real close to us so we sorta prefer to get something local. However, I'd like to get your thoughts in more detail since you tried them both.

  6. #6
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    First, they couldn't seem to get the configuration of seat and handlebars in a position that was comfortable for her (wife is 5'8"). Second, she felt the shifting wasn't as good (maybe 'coz of that same configuration issue?). The Trek fit her like a glove, after a few small tweaks in seat and handlebar. And the shifting was easier for her.
    I rode it, and told her I wish my 20+ year old Giant hybrid would magically die so I could buy the guy's Trek version as well!
    Last edited by mystang52; 12-01-13 at 02:02 PM. Reason: add clarification

  7. #7
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    My Trek Valencia has disc brakes. I hate them. I think there are good disc brakes and then there are disc brakes that come on low-mid priced hybrids. I would take rim brakes any day.
    Trek Valencia, 2010
    Marin Highway One, 2010

  8. #8
    Senior Member decosse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by draco_m View Post
    Thanks so much for the feedback. This is the tire the Vita comes with. Would this be enough tread for a hard-packed dirt path?

    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/ftb...e-tires/nimbus
    I'm not sure how much this will help, but I've had a 2014 Vita Sport for just over a month, and I really enjoy it! My riding is mostly residential areas with bike lanes and paved bike paths. The bike is fast, smooth, and they did the body geometry fit beautifully. There are short bits of path I go on that are decayed crushed rock, packed, almost like a very coarse sand. The bike feels very stabile on that, and not bad on the sand that gets washed/blown onto the bike lanes (which can be kind of like riding on ball bearings)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by decosse View Post
    I'm not sure how much this will help, but I've had a 2014 Vita Sport for just over a month, and I really enjoy it! My riding is mostly residential areas with bike lanes and paved bike paths. The bike is fast, smooth, and they did the body geometry fit beautifully. There are short bits of path I go on that are decayed crushed rock, packed, almost like a very coarse sand. The bike feels very stabile on that, and not bad on the sand that gets washed/blown onto the bike lanes (which can be kind of like riding on ball bearings)
    Thank you. That is very helpful. The salesperson at the Specialized dealer told us the tires on the Vita are designed for a hybrid and adequate for hard packed dirt. So your experience seems to confirm that. Thanks and enjoy your new bike!!

  10. #10
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    Thanks all for the responses! My wife is the proud new owner of a 2013 Specialized Vita. It's the cool black and hot pink color scheme. We took it for a ride this afternoon and she likes it. Yeah!

  11. #11
    Senior Member decosse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by draco_m View Post
    Thanks all for the responses! My wife is the proud new owner of a 2013 Specialized Vita. It's the cool black and hot pink color scheme. We took it for a ride this afternoon and she likes it. Yeah!
    Congratulations! Enjoy!

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